Monday, May 22, 2017

Tales from Beyond

Holy cats, people.
There's cause to celebrate in my corner of the Interwebs.
I have been trying and trying and trying to get my head above water in this new phase in my life, and mostly failing.
If I were to type one more time "I need to write here more often" even I would punch me in the face.

Here's some duh moments I'd like to share with you, my friends and associates:

1. Moving sucks, and it takes a while to figure out new digs. A while can be up to a year. I've lived with the SO for ohhhh....a tad bit over that. And every so often I'm a slow learner.

2. Long term, committed relationships are hard. I mean, they're good too, or you wouldn't think they'd be as much a phenomenon as they are, but yeah. They're really difficult. This is only compounded by family with medical issues, roommates and old houses with yards and gardens and things.

3. But I didn't know the first thing about how to make stubborn rose bushes bloom or fix a sink or paint a room or fix a sink again. Or how much it takes just to run a house week to week, from dishes to meal planning and taxes and budgets and appointments and groceries. And pets.

4. Freelance writing is...tumultuous. No matter how hard you work or how long, it's really hard to make it into a living, and even harder to ride out mergers and layoffs and freezes. One minute you're in, the next you're out. Things change fast and there's so much work you have to put in to get anything out of it. Most people I know in paid writing positions around me put in at least 5 to 7 years of unpaid or occasionally paid work at various outlets before they ever got those.  Seems the fate of the creative. Everyone wants photos and articles and stuff for free, but no one's telling a steelworker to put in their unpaid dues for 7 years and one day they'll make it. But I digress.

5. You better work, b*tch. No one is doing anything for you, and if you want to make stuff happen you're gonna have to pound pavement, send emails, and constantly find a new way of making it. And boohoo if you don't start May 1st on a Monday. May 2nd on a Tuesday or halfway between Tuesday and Wednesday is fine, just start. Not starting isn't an excuse for not starting. queen of not starting. I regret this, and wish to give up my claim to that throne.

So...where's that leave us? Why the celebration?
Well, I've come up for air. I'm learning the routine, and making space for things I should have made space for a long time ago.

Third Coast is developing and changing and I've got a front seat and a say in how that happens. I'm really excited to watch us grow and help us get our name out there.

The SO has been brought on as a writer for Third Coast officially, which is reason enough to celebrate, but we're both launching our writing ship together, and have set up a schedule we are currently completing day one of.

I feel amazing. We got up, we procrastinated only a minimum amount to go acquire coffee, and then we worked. And I really, really got shit done. While making sure house stuff like bills and utilities didn't slip away, while ensuring animals and people were fed, while scheduling stuff and helping each other out. And it was nice.

I'm confident if we can keep working together and holding each other to doing work while we're on work hours, the future will be bright. Just today I muddled through back press releases, scheduled museum and garden visits, made new contacts and did some internal housekeeping stuff for 3CR like minutes and soliciting more entries for my section. I'm updating here and searching out new things everywhere and I'm really happy with how this new schedule began.

I'm outing myself here as a way to say I'm here to work, and we're gonna make this thing happen.
Day 1's the hardest. Now to keep it going.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Here I Am Again

On my own? Going down the only road I've ever known? (I can't not start singing that when I say what I said, so...sorry?)

Anyway. Just me.
Just me at the keys again, wondering why it's always so long before I write for me. This time, I had a big push into the "guilt about not writing something that's not an article" from the American Writer's Museum opening in Chicago just two days ago. It's full of so much about writing, about process, about just doing it even though everything that falls out of your head and onto the page just seems trite or silly or wrong.

I wrote the non-upside down part on the story canvas table at the museum, and thought I wanted to develop that into something, someday. Then I thought, why not sooner than "someday."

It's a hatchling I'm watching over.

I feel like it goes with the thoughts that were running through my head the other day as I was cruising into Chicago. Everything was an electric green and in full bloom, and instead of that amazing "spring  has sprung!" feeling you get sometimes when the sun is just warm enough and the grass is all lush and the sky's impossible blue, I felt a certain sadness. I felt like I was inside but everything else was outside, away from me. Like somehow I missed all the flowers and breezes and rivers rushing with runoff.

It's only May, but it's already May. May's just on the precipice of summer. The AC units are already in the windows and many people wiser than me have already been working on their swimsuit form. I feel like I'm emerging from a cave when I go outside during the daytime and I'm not at a grocery store.

My BFF forever came out from Seattle just a week or two ago, and we were EVERYWHERE. We saw tons of mutual friends, drove all over creation, ate at all the restaurants you have to eat at when you're gone from the Midwest and Chicago, and shopped til we dropped. We watched DS9 all in the same room (my boyfriend, myself and my bff all watch ds9 on Thursdays as a way for me to keep in touch with her. It's awesome).  We went to the Field Museum, which I haven't done as a "civilian" for SUCH a long time, cruised Lake Shore Drive, and generally gawked. We hit Freeport for a weekend of games and movies and the "same old" that for our group of friends never gets old, we went to Portillo's and on a zany journey through Target with Trev and Sami, and we caught up with an original member of our "biotch squad," Cherie.

It was awesome, if exhausting, and I was *so* glad to touch back on those connections.

So why so blue now? I think part of it is the angst that is PMS, part of it is that feeling you get when you get a taste of something awesome (like having your BFF NOT be thousands of miles away all the time) but then it goes away because it's temporary. Probably one last part is that my schedule...our totally not a thing right now, and we really wanted it to be. I'd love to "get outside and enjoy the season" which I think is where my spring related ennui on the drive the other day is coming from, but I also want to do things like...get my shit together and get the house in order and get on schedule with writing. The list was short, then it was long, then it was longer.

April was a blur, between trips to MN for Easter and C2E2, and it all just rolled right into May with no sign of stopping. Now I'm just begging for some sort of routine to emerge again. As much as I worry about missing the thousands of things in bloom (achoo, by the way...) I also have a strong desire to cocoon myself in the bedroom with netflix and my blanky for awhile til things feel normal again. Which likely would only exacerbate things, but sounds absolutely like therapy.

I'm disjointed, and so is this, but I'm determined to try and do better.
I want to keep those connections to my friends more frequent, keep this house running more consistently, even in the face of weird schedules, and really go somewhere.
I can't word that into existence, though. I have to work it there.

It's time to work.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Do The Write Thing

Tonight I'm using this space as...well, what it always should be and sometimes isn't.
Just mine.
Just a place to download if I need to.

And I think I need to. What I need is more calm sunrises with no one around and less...stress.
That picture was taken on our super excellent and long vacation in Door County, which I already miss. During that vacation, we did exactly nothing whenever we wanted to, and exactly what we wanted to when we wanted to.  Sleep til 2 one day, get unhealthy takeout and watch Moana at 4 am? Sure.

Wake up at 8 am to get breakfast and watch the snow fall, and then watch Food Network competitions and play Legend of Zelda? Sure!

Wake up at 6 and drive about a half an hour out to some icy cliffs to get some sunrise time with your camera? Yep.

I miss that.

Tryin' to get it other ways, but sometimes, lately, I find myself a bit spazzy and more irritated than I would like to be. Sometimes I just wonder how hard it'd be to help someone else out or be considerate, I guess? Sometimes I feel like I've taken the mantle of full on haus-frau like I don't have a job or ambition but I have both, and if there's any time I need to be working harder, it's now. I feel a bit bitter because to me, it seems like I can't ask anyone to wash a mug they didn't drink out of, while I'm washing a dirty dozen a day and I'm off caffeine.

And for anyone who doesn't think I'm working, I am. Despite setbacks. On top of which, a lot of the time, I'm feeling a crazy amount of anxiety and a dash of depression. I don't need an intervention staged or anything, and mom, if you're reading, you don't need to call, I just...have to manage life a little bit better. Communicate more, plan more, and fix some stuff that makes me feel insecure and just...crazy.

And maybe...realize what I can't fix. Other people, other people's relationships or lack thereof, and just...situational horror.

Sucky things just float out there, and you can't drown 'em for anything.
Maybe it's time to hold on to the good stuff, then?
I've gotta get out of a constant state of worry into something different. Life's tryin' to add stress while I try to take it away, but I'm gonna come out on top.

Beh. I'm not really sure what else to say, and I don't feel like a ramble. I think I'll disappear into a strange state of stupid show bliss, then, and leave this be what it was.

To all of you out there...I hope you find a little normal in a crazy world, even if it seems impossible to find right now.

And I hope I can get enough sleep to be a little more productive tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day...Part Deux. (That's 2 if you don't speak zee Fronch)

More Women's Day stuff, you say? Yes, I say.
Because strong women are what I'm made of, what I want to be, and when I'm my best self, are what I am. And while that's a really grammatically terrible sentence, I'm going to forgive myself and move on from it.

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be strong. I have a lot of role models for that. My mom was my first strong woman. Strong because she had to deal with her husband dying at the same time she had a very young newborn, and she had to move cross country, and figure out how to deal with grief, babies and relocation all at once. Strong because though the absence is always felt, I was never without the proper care and love, even with her having to work harder and longer than she would have if there were two parents in the picture.

My aunts are powerhouses too.  One has been a lawyer as long as I can remember and also manages Martha Stewart worthy Thanksgivings and hedges of hydrangeas that only appear in most people's dreams (and now holds state office). She gets.stuff.done. And she's happily married and has two daughters who are both successful and, like her, down to earth.

The other worked her butt off as a mail carrier and eventually ended up working at the Pentagon. She was my model career woman, but she was also my godmother who would randomly show up and take me to the Dells and ride every single water slide with me. She raised two awesome, successful men and kicked cancer to the curb while handling her own husband's cancer. See if she can't do something.

My grandma, she's the matriarch in the family. But she's the best example of speak softly and carry a big stick I know. She's gentle and kind and funny and She raised four kids alone after her husband died, worked at a factory FORever, and is now 92, smart as a tack, and still beloved by almost everyone she meets.

Sometimes, men mystify me because I spent so much time around women. There was a time I was even a little bit afraid of being around people's dads because I didn't really know what to expect or how to be and sometimes I thought of dads as enforcers and not much more.

But the GREAT thing I got out of the way I grew up was that all these women, from mom to grandma to aunts, show me all the time it's not one or the other. Family or career, stay at home or work, soft and feminine or hard and savvy. Each of these women can and have been all of those things, and are still them. I appreciate the men in my life, even more than most in some cases because I didn't HAVE men in my life I could count on til much later, but I think the women in my life made me feel like women could do anything, and I want to pass that feeling on.

Alone or together, we can do the thing. Which thing? Name the thing, then get a group of determined women together, and we'll do that.

I originally started this post in my head as a look at the sci-fi women that I loved, because they were the same things I admired in the real women I loved, and then, owing back to a stupid taco commercial, I thought, why not both?

I'm damned lucky that not only were the real women in my life fantastic examples, but there were a lot of kickass women (and ARE a lot) in the things I love. Here's just a few:

I love Topanga Lawrence, because she was not afraid of her weirdness. And she wasn't afraid to go against the grain and do the weird thing when it made her happy and that's how she got Corey. And for them, the weird thing was the right thing.

I love Captain Janeway. Because she's a captain under crazy duress. And she stands up for herself. And because dammit, she might be stranded wayyy far from home, but she's gonna still get her cup of coffee no.matter.what. She gets it done, she manages a weird balance between family and employee with the rest of the stranded crew, she maintains a gorgeous mane, and she seriously will blow up the ship if you're gonna try and test her. Love.her.

I love Kira Nerys. Because she is a freedom fighter, a radical, an activist. She has resting bitch face but is one of the gentlest hearts in the entire world. She's broken, but she embraces it and uses it to better everyone around her. She's fiery and fierce and she cannot be taken lightly. She's a full on warrior.

I love Scully. She's confident, she's open minded, but she's certainly not changing her position just because someone else (even a sexy someone else) tells her to believe. She's gonna science it out. She's not waiting for anyone to give her answers.

And Dax, who sciences, and manages to have her own life among lifetimes, and manages to Klingon better than some other Klingons while still remaining her. Jadzia Dax will fly the ship, fix the ship, solve the problem and get back in time to dress up as victorian princesses with Kira for a holosuite trip. And don't you dare try to tell her what to do. She's a great friend and someone who really knows how to have fun, but you can also always count on her. 

So...if you think you're alone, you're not. If you think it's better to be "one of the guys" because "girls are so mean to each other" it's time to change that. 

Because we're women. We should have each other's backs and change the world for the better.
We should battle and science and then paint our nails pretty colors and wear glitter because we can.

Let's not let anyone stop us.

She wouldn't.

International Women's Day 1

This was my shirt for International Women's Day... a day which I spent supporting my SO as someone he loved and who I now consider family was having surgery.

I knew immediately that this would be the shirt I wore because when I think about strong women the first place I go is Carrie Fisher, and it still guts me that we lost her.

I feel like I have a whole other post in me for today, so I might go ahead and put that up too, but really...Carrie was Leia, Leia was Carrie, and both of them were extreme badasses who made things better, not just for themselves.

I had and have tons of words about Fisher, but I'm gonna let you read them on Third Coast, because as hard as this was to write right when I found out about Fisher dying, I think that the things I wrote about her I most want to be true about me.

I want to use my voice to help other people find theirs, and I want to use my struggles as strengths and help people who are struggling.

Anyway, here's what I wrote then:

And I think I will do a part two, in just a few.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Second Hand

So hello. It's long about 6 am and I haven't slept yet. 2017 has started off the way most people feel 2016 ended. Hellish. Between medical issues in the family, job stuff, political bullshit and having had a really bad cold the past two weeks, I can't say I've really felt great about this year.

We had a plan of action, now that's just...dust in the wind. I keep saying once we get clear of this stuff, but it seems like this stuff is replaced by that stuff is replaced by more stuff. It's stupid. Whether intentional or even their fault, too, people are being antagonistic as hell, and that's driven me as close to the edge as I want to get.

I'm currently trying to recapture sanity with long showers, adult coloring books, alone time with stupid shows, and Two Dots. I'm also trying to regroup and get stuff going like I wanted to this year, which includes writing stuff.

To that end, this: 642 things to write about.

I don't know how often I'll do it, though I hope it will be "quite." Still, life has a way of keeping you at the hospital for hours when you don't expect it, so we'll just not commit to that which we can't be sure we can finish.

But we start with one foot in front of the other, and today, the little seed is this: Things that can happen in a second.

When I thought about it, my brain wanted "the most" that could happen in a second. What's the biggest thing that can happen in the space of only a second?

And here's what I wrote down:

Lights on/off
A kiss
A gunshot
A punch lands
A birth

The last one, I thought, doesn't fit.

But then, it does, doesn't it?
The thing about birth is the ultimate newness.
At 12:16:59 am on November 23rd, I wasn't.  At 12:17:00...I was. And I continue to be. Being takes more than a second, but the truth is, all beginnings are marked by that newness.
One second ago, that kiss hadn't happened, and you were only friends.
One second ago, that bullet hadn't pierced that person's heart, and they weren't dead.
One second ago, nothing was unusual, but now it is.

Everything comes down to the second things change.
And when I thought of that, I felt scared and sad. Because one second from now, I could lose everything. One second from now, we could make mistakes that end our relationships, our lives, our safe place. Everything can just come apart, and that change can come in the next second.

But isn't it hopeful, too?
One second ago, all the hopes and dreams you had inside you for the thing growing in your belly for nine months were just hopes and dreams, and now, gasping for air and covered in blood and viscera, here's someone new, here's a blank slate ready for their own hopes and dreams and yours along with it.

One minute, you're sitting alone, the next you're with someone wonderful.

One second is important because things can change in just that split second blink.
It's important because just because things have been one way for 129,000 seconds, that doesn't mean 129,001 won't completely blow your mind.

Maybe all 5,184,000 seconds of these past two months have been one way, but...that doesn't mean that this next part can't be different.

It's 1,486,000 seconds til vacation. Or it was. I just need to watch that tick away and believe that I can keep going through it.

Friday, February 3, 2017

*Clap Clap Clap Clap*

It's a 90's reference. You have to clap quickly. Then you'll get it more easily. I'll wait.
Ok, no I won't, cuz it's late and this is important.

Also, you need to scrollify. A lot. It's pic heavy here in these parts.

I needed this tonight. Thank you, Facebook, for doing something right for once and reminding me it's National Friend Day. Or whatever. Anyway, thanks, cuz wow.

These are just a HANDFUL of the people in my life that make me so, so happy. They're the ones I can count on, laugh with, cry with, and who have shaped who I am with their guidance. We've learned through each other's mistakes, grown up together in many cases, and in some others, worked together or played together or internetted and found that we all were very much supposed to be together as friends. 

These are the people who showed up to my birthday when I announced the same day I was gonna go to dinner and 25 people showed up (NMers, I love you for that. I wasn't gonna do anything at all and suddenly it was a huge party)
The ones I crashed with, took trips with, learned and grew with. 

I am so so infinitely lucky. 

I can't even fit all of you in this post. I literally can't, I'm breaking the photo thing. 

Just know I love you. Know I appreciate you. Know that I am damn sure our paths will cross again as long as your door is open. Know you're loved, because you are. All of you. 
Thank you for making my life the silly, happy, amazing, diverse place it is. Thank you for reminding me that it is when I forget (like you Joey, just yesterday)

Thank you so, so much.